The ‘Super Bowl’ of Catholic Men’s Conferences Is Planned for Cincinnati
The National Men’s Conference will be held on Saturday, March 25, in Cincinnati, and early-bird registration ends March 6.
Men from across America and around the world are invited to the first National Men’s Conference on March 25, when Catholics and other Christians come together in at the Cintas Center, on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The historic conference, formerly called the Cincinnati Men’s Conference, has expanded its reach with an all-star line-up of speakers including The Chosen star Jonathan Roumie and Christian Habsburg-Lorraine, the Archduke of Austria.
Roumie, a devout Catholic who plays Jesus in the popular crowd-funded series The Chosen, will be the keynote speaker. Roumie spoke recently at the March For Life, telling the thousands gathered at the National Mall that pro-life advocacy is “the worthiest and noblest cause possible.” He assured them that God is real, and that he loves each and every one of them.
His Royal Highness Christian Habsburg-Lorraine, the Archduke of Austria, is the grandson of Blessed Karl of Austria, who was dethroned because of his Catholic faith. The Archduke’s talk will mark the first time he has spoken in the United States.
Clergy who will address the conference include Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, who has been strong in his support of the conference. Also speaking are newly ordained Bishop Earl Fernandes of Columbus, and EWTN’s Father Robert Spitzer. And of special interest to football fans, the conference will feature a panel of NFL players and representatives including Ted Karras, the center for the Cincinnati Bengals; Bengals Senior Defensive Assistant Coach Mark Duffner; former offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts, Joe Reitz; and Father Tom Wray, the Catholic chaplain for the Bengals.
There will be a number of pop-in guests and a “major movie star.” Entrepreneur and innovator Jeff Schiefelbein, founder of Undivided Life, will challenge men to remember what matters most in business and in life. Most recently, the conference added a new speaker, Maison Des Champs — a young (22-year-old) student known as the “Pro-Life Spiderman,” who regularly scales cities’ tallest buildings carrying a pro-life sign, in order to raise awareness of the pro-life perspective.
Joe Condit, producer and chairman of the National Men’s Conference, spoke about his hopes for this year’s event. Condit recalled that the Cincinnati Men’s Conference was the first Catholic conference in America. It had been popular in the 1990s, with some 1,500 guys packed into an arena; but the last scheduled event was in 2011. So Condit, with personal experience as the founder of the Catholic Speakers Organization, approached his archbishop in 2018 and expressed interest in bringing back the conference. Archbishop Schnurr was supportive, and Condit relaunched the Cincinnati Men’s Conference. This year, the conference is expanding to invite men from across America to participate; and already, an online option (for virtual tickets) has drawn men from Boston and other cities, and from as far away as Australia.
Why were popular sports figures included among the speakers at a Catholic conference? Condit explained that these athletes are the unsung heroes of any football game. “You rarely know the names of the offensive linemen,” he added, “but they have the most important position: Protecting the football, and protecting the quarterback. It’s like St. Joseph, whose role was to protect Mary and the Baby Jesus.” Condit compared St. Joseph’s role — protecting two things, his wife and his son — with the important role of today’s man, who also must protect two things, his faith and his family.
Condit summarized his goal for the conference: “When I put these events together, I’m putting together a theater ... and there is a purpose in how the speakers intertwine, how they interact with one another. I want the men in the audience to walk away thinking, ‘Man, I’m glad I made time for that!’”
Condit was appreciative of all the organizations that have offered support for the conference including their co-sponsor, the Catholic Men’s Leadership Alliance, and the title sponsor, crowd-funding platform GiveSendGo, a Christian alternative to GoFundMe.
The National Men’s Conference will be held on Saturday, March 25, in Cincinnati. Visit the conference website to learn more about the schedule and the speaker line-up, or to register to attend in person or virtually. The early-bird registration deadline is March 6, and tickets confirmed before that date will include a complimentary light breakfast and lunch. Discount codes are available; and clergy, as well as elementary-age students, may attend for free.